Commentary

Five guys who should be goners

Hard but not impossible for Yanks to lose A-Rod, Hughes, Grandy, Swisher & Joba

Updated: October 23, 2012, 3:44 PM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

It sounds easy for the Yankees to just fire their failing hitters. A-Rod? Get outta here. Swisher? See ya. Grandy? It's been nice knowing you.

Out of those three, though, only one is surely a goner. Before Nick Swisher's latest horrific postseason, there was a minuscule chance he would return -- now it is even smaller. Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson are more likely to be back, but nothing is guaranteed.

It may be difficult to swing, but the Bombers would do well to lose all three -- plus a pair of pitchers. Let's take a look at five guys who should go.

1. Alex Rodriguez

The Yankees are going to say they are not trading A-Rod ... until the day they trade A-Rod. No one is ever immovable, but some players are less movable than others. If the Yankees were to deal A-Rod, they would probably have to eat a large portion of the $114 million remaining on his deal, and would likely receive little in return.

But it is best for the Yankees and A-Rod to part ways. Actions are always louder than words and in the Yankees' most important games this past season, they made it clear they would rather not play with A-Rod on the field.

At the end of the American League Championship Series, A-Rod talked about coming back with a vengeance. But really how does a power hitter, who will turn 38 next season, find his power again? Well, A-Rod seemingly can't reach for the, ahem, "Tic Tacs" -- so how exactly does he not get worse rather than better?

Even if A-Rod is still an above-average third baseman, the Yankees would be better off cutting ties a year early than a year late. Because five years of A-Rod being booed and collecting his millions is going to be ugly for everyone involved. So the Yanks must find a way to deal him. They might even find a good trade out there after all.

How about A-Rod, Eduardo Nunez and Ivan Nova for Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle? Reyes is owed $92 million over the next five years. Buehrle is due $48 million over the next three.

So the Marlins would get a Miami icon, a talented young shortstop and a proven major league winner. Plus, Florida would save money on the deal.

Jeter could DH more and share short with Reyes. The way the Marlins structured Reyes' contract, backloaded and without a no-trade, it seems obvious they will eventually trade him. Why not now?

2. Phil Hughes

Wait, Hughes? What did he do wrong? Nothing, really. He improved this season, going 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA. Once believed to be a No. 1 or No. 2, he is more of a No. 3 or 4.

So what's the matter? It's simple. He will be a free agent after next year. Hughes' trade value still figures to be high and Brian Cashman could deal him to rework this club.

At 26, Hughes is a young asset. Wouldn't it be better to trade him now and fill other needs than wait a year and possibly lose him for little or nothing? If Hughes were to have a breakout season, winning 20 and posting a sub-4.00 ERA as a starter for the first time, would you feel good about committing to him long-term?

Hitting the market at 27, Hughes will get paid like an ace, even if he never becomes one. Hughes is a good guy and a good starter, which makes it a good time to trade him.

3. Curtis Granderson

The Yankees expect to pick up Granderson's $13 million team option. Like Hughes, he is a free agent after next year. Even if Grandy has a great season where he adds a little average to his power, would you trust his abilities enough to give him a multiyear, $100 million contract?

Granderson is a good fit for New York because he isn't controversial, but he also seems rather passionless. His even-keel personality may be the best way to handle 162 games, but it doesn't seem to halt his inconsistency.

With that being the case, it is time to move Granderson and improve the outfield defense with two-thirds of it already including the speedy Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki.

Defense doesn't go into slumps and some added speed would diversify the Yankees' offense, too.

4. Nick Swisher

Has there ever been a player who has fallen out of favor with fans as quickly as Swisher? From beloved to hated, Swisher was a goner even before he complained about the Yankee Stadium fans. After his latest postseason, there is no way he can come back.

When he returns in another uniform, will he be booed? The man the fans loved with his outgoing personality and his salutes to the Bleacher Creatures may need to reconcile with them before he returns.

5. Joba Chamberlain

Like Hughes, Chamberlain can be a free agent after next year. There is a pretty good chance he could be a goner. Chamberlain has the ability to be a big league closer. Heck, call me crazy, but I still think he could be a starter.

Chamberlain could have a big season next year. If he does, he very well could get the opportunity to close somewhere. With the Yankees' $189 million mandate, it will be close to impossible to pay Chamberlain closer money to be a setup guy or fill an even lower-leverage role.

The alternative? Chamberlain could have a poor 2013, and then the Yankees will wish they had let him go.

Whatever Cashman is saying now, it would be shocking if the Yankees don't have a face-lift going into next season. Cashman is a master at trying to play down offseason expectations, but the Yankees need to make some bold changes.

Cashman could change the look of this club by letting our Not So Fab Five go.

With some creativity, the Yankees might have an exciting product on the field come Opening Day, 2013.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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